External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste has urged Saint Lucians to be wary of bringing reproach on their native land when they travel overseas.
“I would always say to Saint Lucians to exercise an abundance of caution when you visit other countries – how you behave in those countries, because you know we try to create opportunities for ourselves. We want to visit more developed countries. Some of us would want to take up residence there,” Baptiste noted.
He spoke to reporters during a press briefing on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting.
“I would always encourage Saint Lucians to be law-abiding citizens,” the Laborie MP stated.
And he observed that lawful behaviour would minimise the possibility of visa impositions on Saint Lucians, incarceration in a foreign country, and deportation.
Baptiste explained that government Ministers have no control over that.
He noted that good behaviour on the part of Saint Lucian travellers would create a better image of their country.
Baptiste’s comments came after Canada added Saint Lucia to its Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) programme, enabling visa-free travel for eligible citizens.
Saint Lucian citizens who have either held a Canadian visa in the last ten years or a valid United States non-immigrant visa can now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air.
In September 2012, Canada imposed a visa requirement for Saint Lucians.
At the time, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney declared that the move was necessary to protect the integrity of Canada’s ‘fair and generous immigration system’.